I’m taking these figures as representative of the Western world, though of course the exact details vary from country to country…
The actual life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2020 was 77.0 years, a decrease of 1.8 years from 2019.1
However, these are figures from birth. If you have already made it to 50 or 60, you’ve proved you’re a survivor. You will live much longer than the average for all ages—well into the 80s! But again these are averages. As many as half of us will reach 100!
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the top three causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Statistics Can Lie
Don’t let statistics bog you down. The really important thing is what will happen to YOU, not what happens to everybody else. You’re not a statistic, you’re not even average. Nobody is average. We are all different. I only want you to understand that the old-fashioned idea of a generation ago—that you were pretty well finished by your 70s and there was nothing much you could do about it—is false and has always been false.
If you go to other supposedly less fortunate societies, you find that living beyond 100 is pretty common and always has been. I first noticed this among my Scottish ancestors, living to 90- 100 years, on a diet of herring and oatmeal (good scientific reasons why these would help you live long). They also had plenty of exercise, walked long distances and, by the way, drank plenty of whisky.
But if you go to societies like the Okinawans of Japan, the Hunzas of Pakistan or the Georgians of Azerbaijan, the picture really is dramatic: many men and women live to be 100 years old, can still work, ride a horse and father children. Unfortunately the ladies cannot match this last but do enjoy occasional “rumpy-pumpy” and they are right up there as sprightly centegenarians, along with the men).
One picture in National Geographic, Jan 1973, shows a woman the researchers know to be at least 130 years old. She’s lucid and lively and—wait for it—has a cigarette in one hand and a glass of vodka in the other!
I took one look at that photograph and thought “What do we doctors know, really?”
Jeanne Louise Calment, a French lady, who famously lived till just a few months short of 123 years. She drank every day and didn’t give up smoking till the age of 117!
So my first piece of advice for living healthy and long is IGNORE EVERYTHING YOU ARE TOLD BY REGULAR DOCTORS. Medical science is crude, simplistic, biased, ignorant, narrow-minded and dangerous. Most of it is, after all, centered around drug company profits, not patient care in the true sense of the word.
The Center for Disease Control reported the top 10 causes of death for 2005 were as follows:
- Heart disease
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases (lung diseases)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Kidney disease
- Septicemia (a serious infection that affects the blood)
These were closely followed by suicide, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease and homicide.
But wait—I argue that there are just 6 main speed bumps in the road. Yes, that’s right. A lot of these figures are quite complicated and don’t necessarily speak the truth. For example, someone who had a paralyzing stroke but survived, only to die in bed of pneumonia (a very common outcome), would not show up as a stroke death.
But really a stroke was the cause of the fatality; pneumonia and respiratory disease is thus exaggerated. In any case 4 and 8 are pretty similar (lungs).
Stroke and heart disease are also pretty much the same thing, under different names.
The actual disease is arteriosclerosis or bad arteries, whether the heart is most affected or the brain. Even Alzheimer’s could be seen as a disease of the circulatory system since the main problem seems to be poor nutrient blood supply to the brain, caused by aging arteries.
We can rule out accidents, since avoiding them is hardly a medical matter. To die in a car crash has nothing to do with the aging process! It’s just tough luck.
We can actually boil the top of the list down to this:
- Aging circulation
- Kidney disease
But that’s only 5 you say. What about the 6th?
This is what they didn’t tell you in the report: doctors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the US! They account for over 225,000 deaths per year.2 These show up as “iatrogenic” causes, a Greek word which means “caused by doctors”.
This year the CDC tried to claim that COVID is the 3rd leading cause of death. Well, since that’s medical blundering and falsehoods at its worst, that too may be added to iatrogenic causes!
Doctors May Be The Number One Killer
But according to Dr Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, who prepared the report for The Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors are actually the number one killer, because they do not inform patients properly of the hazards of the procedures they offer (why would they? The patient might have second thoughts and that would lose income for the doctor!)
According to Starfield’s figures:
- 12,000 —–unnecessary surgeries
- 7,000 —–medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 —–other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 —–infections in hospitals
- 106,000 —-non-error, negative effects of drugs
These total to 250,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes!! Note that over 100,000 deaths are not “errors”, the patients died of the “correct” treatments.
Another analysis, published in the British Medical Journal3, concluded that between 4% and 18% of consecutive patients experience negative effects in outpatient settings, with:
- 116 million extra physician visits
- 77 million extra prescriptions
- 17 million emergency department visits
- 8 million hospitalizations
- 3 million long-term admissions
- 199,000 additional deaths
- $77 billion in extra costs
The high cost of the health care system is considered to be a deficit, but seems to be tolerated under the mistaken assumption that better health results from more expensive care.
In fact, evidence from a few studies indicates that as many as 20% to 30% of patients receive inappropriate care (medicalese for “wrong treatment”)! An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 among them die each year as a result of medical errors.
My often-repeated piece of critical advice therefore, if you want to live a long and healthy life, is STAY AWAY FROM DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS. They are by far the biggest speed bump in your way. In fact when doctors go on strike, ironically, the death rate always drops.
Not a lot of people know that! [a phrase from Peter Sellers and often attributed to Sir Michael Caine]
Keep healthy and choose your own day of departure!
To your good health,
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor
1. NCHS Data Brief No. 427, December 2021
2. Journal American Medical Association 2000 Jul 26;284(4):483-5
3. Weingart SN, Wilson RM, Gibberd RW, Harrison B. “Epidemiology and medical error.” BMJ. 2000;320:774-777.